Roasted Beet and Carrot Panzanella Salad with Baked Lemon Ricotta

We love a good panzanella salad, but one winter we didn’t want to wait for the tomatoes and peppers of summertime to enjoy it. So, we got creative, opting to celebrate the abundance of carrots and beets we have in the late winter and early spring in a panzanella-style dish. Our farm grows the delicious Nantes variety of carrots, which are smaller than what you find in the supermarket and a bit milder and sweeter in flavor. But any carrot type will work beautifully in this salad. Kalamata olives are a salty counterpoint to the sweet roasted vegetables, and the citrusy ricotta mellows out the tangy balsamic dressing. Make sure you toss this salad just before serving and eat it right away since the color of the beets tends to bleed and the bread becomes soggy–but that’ll be no problem since it’s so delicious that it won’t last long!


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fermented mustard or whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (1 small shallot)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or ¾ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 pound Nantes carrots, peeled ( 16 to 20 small carrots, uniform in size)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 pound beets (about 8 small beets)
  • 4 ounces sourdough bread, torn in 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (about ½ lemon)
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. VINAIGRETTE – In a small, non-reactive bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, shallot, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside at room temperature. The dressing will naturally separate and should be whisked again before using.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the carrots, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Toss to evenly coat the carrots and spread them out on one of the prepared baking sheets. In the same bowl, combine the beets with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss to evenly coat the beets and spread them out on the other baking sheet, arranging them one side. Bring the opposite side of the parchment paper up and over the beets until the short edges of the paper meet. Fold all of the edges of the paper together to create a parchment paper packet, with the beets secured inside. Place the carrots on the bottom rack of the oven and the beets on the top rack.
  4. Bake until the carrots are softened and lightly browned, stirring halfway through, 30 to 35 minutes, and until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let cool. Transfer the carrots to a medium bowl. Remove and discard the skins from the beets, cut the beets into 2-inch cubes, and put them into the bowl with the carrots.
  5. Place the torn sourdough in the same bowl used to season the carrots and beets. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Line one of the baking sheets with a clean piece of parchment paper, and spread the bread on top of it. Bake, stirring halfway through, until the bread is toasted and crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. Set the bread aside.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir well. Line one of the baking sheets with a new piece of parchment paper, and, using a spoon, spread the ricotta onto the paper in a 1-inch thick layer. Bake the ricotta until it begins to release some of its liquid and turn golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the baked ricotta and the toasted bread to the bowl with the carrots and beets. Add the olives, parsley, chives, and the remaining dressing. Toss to coat and serve immediately.